In addition to being one of the proponents of the “Lipid World hypothesis”, David Deamer, together with other colleagues, pioneered studies involving formation of RNA-like oligomers from their ‘non-activated’, prebiotically plausible monomeric moieties. In particular, the pioneering work in this regard was a publication from 2008 in Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres
, The Journal of the International Astrobiology Society
, wherein we described the formation of RNA-like oligomers from nucleoside 5’-monophosphates. In that study, we had simulated a terrestrial geothermal environment, a niche that is thought to have facilitated the prebiotic non-enzymatic synthesis of polynucleotides. We showed that a mixture of lipids and non-activated mononucleotides resulted in the formation of relatively long strands of RNA-like polymers when subjected to repeated cycles of dehydration and rehydration (DH-RH). Since 2008, terrestrial geothermal niches and DH-RH conditions have been explored in the context of several other prebiotic processes. In this article, we review the work that we and other researchers have carried out since then in this line of research, including the development of new apparatus to carry out the simulation of prebiotic terrestrial geothermal environments.
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